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Zoolog Sci. 2005 Nov;22(11):1259-63.

Environmental factors affecting black/white coloration of the silken girdle in the swallowtail butterfly, Atrophaneura alcinous (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae).

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Biology and Informatics, Faculty of Science, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi 753-8512, Japan.

Abstract

The silken girdles of pupae of the swallowtail butterfly Atrophaneura alcinous show black and white color diphenism. Field observations revealed that all pupae observed on non-food plants and the leaves and stems of the larval food plant Aristolochia debilis were classified as a silken girdle of a black type, while a large portion of pupae pupating on the twigs and trunks of cherry trees in close proximity to A. debilis were classified as a silken girdle of a black type. Additionally, all pupae observed on the surfaces of artificial objects in areas where there are no surrounding plants or trees were classified as a silken girdle of a white type. We demonstrated the effect of day length and the texture, light, plant odor and humidity of pupation sites on the coloration of the silken girdle in A. alcinous. Regardless of long-day or short-day day length conditions, light conditions of constant light or dark, or the presence of a plant odor of A. debilis as environmental cues, all larvae placed at over 80% relative humidity (R.H.) developed into pupae with a silken girdle of a black type. However, all larvae developed into pupae with a silken girdle of a white type when R.H. was below 75%. Furthermore, when pupae with a silken girdle of a white type were transferred to conditions of 90% R.H. within 24 hr of pupation, the white color of the silken girdle changed into a black type within 24 hr of the transfer. The present data suggest that the induction of a black coloration of the silken girdle in A. alcinous requires a R.H. of approximately 80% or more as an environmental factor.

PMID:
16357474
DOI:
10.2108/zsj.22.1259
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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